Tea Injuries, Near-misses and Cautionary Tales

Today my tea drew blood! Sudden yielding of the pu’erh cake caused my pick to dart through and embed its point into my thumb. Ouch! Hopefully my thumb won’t get infected. Tightly compressed tea is my nemesis, it seems. No more “iron cakes” for me—the difficulty of steaming them loose or prying them open just makes the reward not worth the risks. (Previously I tried using a vegetable steamer, but it boiled dry and scorched my tea-cake!)

Let’s hear your stories of injury or near-injury, as a lesson to others! From scaldings to stabbings, from allergy to toxicity, from tea-hoarding to bad investment. Dearth and destruction! And let’s focus on the amusing or cautionary, not the litigious.

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I mean, I’ve burned myself more times than I care to admit – at this point I don’t think I have much in the way of nerve endings on the sides of the two fingers I use on either hand to pour my gaiwan – I’m slightly ambidextrous, so I pour with either hand depending on tea set up of the moment.

A month or so ago I was pouring freshly boiled water into a mug for a Western style cup of tea and the mug just spontaneous cracked down the side spilling all the hot water straight down onto my leg. It’s healed now, but the spot that got the brunt of the boiled water as a deep purple scar.

I’ve only injurged myself with a pu’erh pick once, trying to break off a piece of a fu brick, but it was pretty badly – this was this past summer. The pick just slid to the side while trying to break it, right into the lower palm of the hand I was using to grip the brick. It was fairly deep – over a centimeter embedded. Debated getting stiches but, y’know, pandemic. So I just waited it out, and it eventually healed over. I have a pale scar from where it stabbed through, though. Once was enough – haven’t done it since.

OMG Ros, your puer pick injury sounds far worse than mine! Although my puncture hasn’t healed over yet, I chalk that up to my blood thinners. A 1cm deep puncture would be enough to put me back to tea bags permanently (after regaining consciousness—blood makes me pass out)! Congratulations on your recovery!

And be careful with those gaiwans! I got one that has a handle and a strainer on it. But mostly I use a stainless steel basket, which fits perfectly into my 3oz porcelain espresso cups that I use for gongfu sessions—they also have handles! I line up 8 of them and steep serially straight through, which is both efficient and allows the first one to cool a bit before I start sipping.

(Heresy, I know, but I’m not into the mysticism or rituals, and they’re not part of my heritage, so I don’t feel an urge to appropriate the cultural aspects. I simply enjoy the flavors and variety of teas.)

LuckyMe said

Like Roswell Storage, my fingers are practically impervious to hot vessels now thanks to tea.

Skysamurai said

Oh man… I was definitely making that face that the guy from the office makes while reading this. glad you are okay though.

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Not a story. Just wanted to applaud you, TeaEarleGreyHot, for preparing your tea in a way that works for YOU, not how ’it’s supposed to be done.’ Three cheers for the road less traveled and those who tread there.

Thanks, W.A. I’m a MAVERICK!! Or sumthin. Let’s just say that I have taken the road less traveled often enough to know that, sometimes, there’s a reason nobody goes there…. And yet I keep on doing things MY way. (-:

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Interesting topic. Luckily I never hurt myself with tea. No injuries, no allergies.

Only once I felt a bit weird after drinking some Detox tea. I don’t remember the brand nor which one it was exactly… I suppose it was some bagged stuff. And it made me going to toilet so often. I returned to my desk and in 15 minutes I had to go again. Luckily it was like that for two hours only and then the intervals were longer and longer.

That might have been your liver acting up, to remind you that detoxification is liver’s job! Or your kidneys saying “we excrete toxins too!” Tee-hee!

True. It wasn’t just comfortable :)

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Oh goodnesss.

I’ve scalded myself more times that I can count. Like many of you, I think I’ve completely killed the burn-receptors in my hand from drinking so much tea (and coffee). Actually, it’s SO bad that burns in general just don’t phase me… which is one of the reasons I got into so much trouble awhile back when I spilled bacon grease on myself. I’d grown so accustomed to scorching fluids that I didn’t even think to wash it with cold water! I just wiped it off and went on my merry way. I was fine initially, but the next morning….

Yeah, in general, I think that if you drink enough tea, burns just stop hurting after awhile. It’s like your brain gets the signal “This is hot!” and shuts it down.

Oh Shanie, so greased to hear your story! Please be careful and let someone else deep fry that holiday bird…. Makes me want to favor cold-brew and sun-tea. Can sun tea be made in a bright window when it’s freezing outside? LoL

“So greased to hear…” LMAO! I love it.

As for the “Holiday bird”, it wasn’t even a bird. It was straight up “It’s 2 am and I want a bacon sandwich”. Although your sentiment about favoring cold items hits very true. I haven’t cooked bacon on the stove since. I’ve been too scared to try again. Every time I think “Oh, come on, just two slices” my brain goes back to my screaming in bed the next morning and I decide “Nope”. Heck it took me a good 2 months before I used the stove again I was so off-put! I microwaved everything until I got the nerve back up to use the burners.

I mean, yeah, it’s funny and all. But when you screw up that dang bad it can really get in your head!

Although, funny thing. I had a gong-fu session last night and accidentally got a clump of puer in my cup. I didn’t even bother drinking the tea before I removed it. It was dang near freshly boiled water too, only about 3 minutes cooled in the pot. I just dipped my finger in and pulled it out. Didn’t even flinch.

I guess that’s just what tea does to you.

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